A rich and moving memoir of childhood illness and its aftermath by a member of the last generation of Americans to have experienced childhood polioJust after her eleventh birthday, at the height of the frightening childhood polio epidemic, Susan Richards Shreve was sent as a patient to the sanitarium at Warm Springs, Georgia It was a place famously founded by FDR, a perfA rich and moving memoir of childhood illness and its aftermath by a member of the last generation of Americans to have experienced childhood polioJust after her eleventh birthday, at the height of the frightening childhood polio epidemic, Susan Richards Shreve was sent as a patient to the sanitarium at Warm Springs, Georgia It was a place famously founded by FDR, a perfect setting in time and place and strangeness for a hospital of crippled children There the young Shreve met Joey Buckley, a thirteen year old in a wheelchair who desperately wants to play football for Alabama The shock of first love and of separation from her fiercely protective mother propels Shreve on a careening course from Warm Springs bad girl to overachieving saint and back again This indelible portrait of the psychic fallout of childhood illness ends like Tobias Wolff s Old School with a shocking collision between adolescent drive and genteel institution.During Shreve s stay at Warm Springs, the Salk vaccine was developed, an event that put an end to a harrowing time for American families Shreve s memoir is both a fascinating historical record of that time and an intensely felt story of childhood.
The first reason that I read this book is because the author, Susan Richards Shreve, is to be an attending author at the 2012 National Book Festival in D.C which I plan to also attend. While the author has many fiction titles from which to choose, I wanted to read her non-fiction account of her struggles with polio and her time spent at FDR's famous Warm Springs. I have only known one person in a personal sense who was struck with polio, but it has always piqued my curiosity. I was a child born [...]
What is a memoir but the ultimate chance to reconstruct one’s own history? In 2013, the question seems obvious, but the genres of autobiography and memoir seemed to live an unexamined shelf life for decades. These tell-alls, sometimes poignant, frequently salacious, went largely unquestioned until 2006, when a massive controversy erupted over James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces. A six-week investigation by The Smoking Gun revealed that Frey had manufactured, embellished, or otherwise m [...]
In “Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven,” Susan Richards Shreve writes achingly about the loss of control that comes with bearing illness, and also of powerful acts of will and defiance in the face of that terrifying fact.She gives the reader utterly telling, quick-stroke particulars of family, like the brief, lovely two paragraphs that describe her parents' meeting. And beyond family, she plucks names from history, less-known people, who deserve more renown for their wo [...]
True story of a pre-teen girl striken with polio, who was sent in 1950 to live in Warm Springs, Georgia. I found this to be interesting - the whole era of the fear of polio and the lives affected by it.
This is the story of one child's two-year stay at the Warm Springs, GA, polio hospital in the early 1950s. Since that child went on to become a novelist, this memoir is well-written, and the subject matter makes it a quick read. I enjoyed her back-and-forth in time style.
The author of 13 novels (perhaps more), Richards-Shreve tells a well-narrated version of the tragic lives of children struck by polio in a 1950s era that thought differently about illness and childhood than we do today. This would not leave her paralyzed like it did many children. I found this to be a fantastic testament to how 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' I plan to send this book to someone I know who had polio so that maybe he can enjoy it and compare his own West Coast experien [...]
This is an absolutely wonderful memoir. It's hard to imagine leaving my children on their own for two years at a combination medical facility/camp, as Shreve was left by her parents, but polio forced some hard choices.She writes with a very moving and honest style. Surprisingly there is a lot happening in these two years to the point where I was anxious to find out what happened. I'm sure part of writing the book was to explore actions for which she must feel guilty. Reading about or thinking ab [...]
As one with multiple health conditions, most of which I cope with daily, I picked up this book in a moment of fierce self-care. The theory was, of course, helping me to deal with my own burdens through sharing another's much more dire story. It was in a bargain bin, marked undeservedly in my opinion, so low as to fit my budget without the usual guilt of a lifelong book habit. It has lived in one of my waiting-to-be-read book stacks for a good six months and passed over many times as off-putting [...]
Warm Springs is a non-fiction book about the author Susan Richards having polio. It protrays the struggles she faced in her life as a young girl in a life threatening situaltion. Almost all of her life as a child she spent at the FDR research hospital. She undergoes several sergaries in which she has to relearn to walk everytime. In this book she even fines best friends and even boyfriends.This book was not made into a movie, therefore I do not know what the diffrences were between the two.This [...]
Interesting memoir! I knew very little about the polio epidemic before reading this. Reading about the procedures they performed on some of these kids is a bit like reading about medicine in the middle ages- I don't think they had a clue what they were doing. Also made me really glad I didn't grow up in the early 50's- don't think I would have liked it at all.The author's relationship with her mother was also very strange to me- her mother behaved atrociously, but she seems to be unable, even as [...]
I read this book with the idea of getting some background on Warm Springs before taking a road trip to the site (about an hour south of Atlanta.) Not knowing much about polio, I had not properly prepared myself for how depressing this book could be; while the author does not indulge in self-pity, one can't help but be moved by the stories of broken bones, muscle transplants, and the like. This book also gives some insight into FDR and his desire not to be seen as an invalid or someone defined by [...]
I live about 1 1/2 hours from Warm Springs. There were not many children growing up in the sixties and seventies that didn't go on at least one field trip to Warm Springs. I found the place fascinating as a child. I thought Ms. Shreve's memoir was a matter of fact description of a life that was far from normal. She did a great job transplanting the reader into a different place and time. I also could not help but think what a short time ago this all took place. We seem to easily forget the pain [...]
Interesting to learn about the hospital where people with polio were sent in the 40's and 50's. Of course FDR was its most famous patient, and the founder. The writer's memoirs of her experiences there gave me a sense of what it was like to stay there. I found her writing style could have been tightened up. Hard to explain, but it seemed like she didn't have a straightforward narrative, and I always felt like she was just making it up as she went along, that she could have had a better editor. S [...]
A friend suggested I read this memoir written by a woman from Washington, DC who suffered from polio as a child and was sent to the rehabilitation center in Warm Springs funded by FDR. It's a well written story about the suffering endured by young polio victims and their families and introduces the reader to a feisty, good-hearted young girl who beat the disease and found a way to cope with two years of various surgeries and torturous therapy, living away from her family and friends.
Was interested in the idea that polio was such an epidemic that doesn't even effect our lives today, but it was such a wide spread problem just 50 years ago. It hurt people in all social levels and was treated as such a poor persons disease. This is like a journal of a girl reflecting back on her days at this retreat place where some lucky individuals when to have surgery to help with the muscle loss from polio. Not totally captivating, but kept my interest enough to finish, okay read.
For some reason I didn't get the polio vaccine even though it had been out a few years and contracted polio at age 3. I have very few memories of the actual disease after 52 years, and was hospitalized for only approximately 3 weeks. I didn't know much about Warm Springs and this was a pretty good book of what it must have been like to an 11-year-old girl sent there from her family, but it also seemed like the convoluted writing of an 11-year-old, very disjointed. The end was frustrating.
I was kinda disappointed in this book. The story was very disjointed. Did the author really remember the things she wrote about or was she making it up and changing things, like she said she did in her book after her stay at Warm Springs. Read page 210, the second paragraph, is just one example. I would have liked more information on some of the medical aspects in her treatment of polio.
A child leaves her family to receive polio treatment at Warm Springs. The book contains the author's reflections on her experiences while she was treated for polio, which she compares with the experiences she included in the novel she wrote during her time at Warm Springs. Shows how young teenagers go through similar emotions at growing up whether they're well or sick. Well written.
This is terrific book. Perhaps any reader who vaguely recalls the polio scares will find it more interesting. But it's really more about a place, a community, a non-sentimental look at family, physical hurt and disfigurement and "doing what must be done."I've been finished for a long time. I still think it's excellent, a good book to read for many reasons.
This was actually a really good book, I couldn't stop reading it it was so interesting, but something about it left me rather depressed. I'm not entirely sure why. I knew nothing about polio, so it was really interesting to learn about that era in history and how devestating the effects of polio were.
I really didn't like this book. I thought the description sounded really interesting about one the first medical homes that had been created by Roosevelt and the children that spent some of their childhood their being treated for polio. However, this was a memoir of sorts, and told in such a disjointed fashion and overall sorrowful tone that I had no enjoyment at all from this book.
I really enjoyed reading this book because not only was it nice to read a children's point of view while she was sick with polio, but I learned about history, religion, and even medicine. This was a great book of strength and courage of a young girl, who was diagnosed with polio. It may be depressing at times, but in the end it was full of inspiration and insight.
Another one of those "been there seen that" kinda books for me. Living close to Warm Springs, GA and visiting there on several occasions; I could imagine everything in this book so vividly. A wonderful story about life and the struggle with polio.
This memoir, from a novelist (and you can tell), of her coming-of-age as a patient in Roosevelt's Warm Springs polio hospital, is a fascinating story of denial, desire, and the bad consequences of a good girl 'acting out.'
I grew up in the 50's and didn't know this place existed. The author provided interesting insight to her childhood at Warm Springs. I was also impressed with the info on FDR. For example FD Roosevelt provided more than half of his worth to fund this place.
This book was a strong read 2/3 of the way through then the author flips back and forth between present and memories, completely losing her story rhythm and momentum. Stopped reading, started skimming at that point. Not a satisfying read, overall.
I liked this book - my mom had polio and it was a great insight to that period of history. I felt a little let down but not sure why exactly. Maybe because there wasn't a "how I am doing now" or any real epilogue at all.
A highly personal perspective of Warm Springs, how the writing life may arise out of trauma, and how there are no tidy, happy endings in life.
I heard about this on NPR
This is an enjoyable book to read.